Sustainability in research and teaching

In any university you will find a mix of professors who either prefer research or instruction; once in a while you find someone who loves both. John Reganold, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, balances this mix.

Previous to his work at WSU, Reganold was in private industry. But he yearned to teach.

His research expertise encompasses three major areas within the field of sustainable agriculture and land use, said William L. Pan, professor and chair for crop and soil sciences:
• measuring the environmental and economic sustainability of commercial farming systems;
• developing and implementing soil-quality indices for use by growers and scientists;
• studying and defining strategies to preserve agricultural lands from conversion to nonagricultural.

It is because of his expertise in this mix that Reganold will be presenting the Distinguished Faculty Address on March 24. His presentation will be on “The Sustainability of Organic Agriculture.”

“I am really excited about the award,” he said. “I feel really good about it, and it will be great exposure for the new project!”

That project is the fledgling organic teaching farm located in Tukey Orchard on the eastern edge of the Pullman campus, which holds three acres of community supported agriculture enterprise, or CSA. In CSA projects, farmers and consumers form a partnership and share the risk — a risk that is otherwise placed entirely on farmers. Consumers pay in advance for a share or half-share of the season’s produce, delivered in weekly installments for about 25 weeks. The CSA sold out of all its shares last year and had a waiting list.

“We also are leading the charge for an organic agriculture major,” he said, “… and if everything goes as planned, we will be the first university in the country to offer this major this fall.”

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